For boomers, it may not have worked out exactly like that. Instead there may be sudden job loss forcing early retirement or no pension to look forward to, or living on small savings, while hoping social security comes in, just in time to supply necessary additional income. What if we don’t outlive out savings? This is a worrisome thought crossing many minds.
But no matter what is dealt to us, attitude, how we think about things, can make a huge difference as we move along in age. It is best not to dwell on the losses (legitimate though they are) but rather focus on the gains. We have all heard the best thing about aging is wisdom gained through experience. Especially if we have paid attention, we may have learned some important life lessons. Certainly our coping skills increase and so we are probably better able to manage our challenges.
With age, we may see that the materialistic goals, once thought to be so important, are no longer leading us around, and instead we may choose to downsize and simplify our lives.
We become better at relationships, having learned the value of good communication skills and how to compromise and most importantly, forgiveness.
In the retirement years before us we have much more time for recreation, maybe learning or relearning a skill or pursuing the arts and crafts we have put off, or tending to the garden. There is more time for visiting distant family and friends or going on those long held dreams of vacationing in a leisurely way.
One of the best payoffs of getting older is we are now able to follow our own rhythm and answer only to our selves. No alarm clocks to deal with, disturbing our sleep then rushing to get dressed, put something in the belly, deal with traffic, report into the job and spend eight or more hours doing work which may or may not please us. Freedom from all that makes getting older palpable, at least, and leads to true happiness for some.
Our generation is forging new aging territory, very different than those who came before. Our economic base may not be as strong as it was for our parents, but we have more options when we consider how to live out the last third of our lives. By the time we reach the elder years (so much more revered and appreciated in many other cultures) we may arrive at a place of acceptance that getting “old” is just one more life transition so why not sit back and enjoy the way it is, just as it is.